Saturday, September 21, 2019

Goulash soup

A tasty and hearty dish that we tried for the first time last night. When we were camping this summer we stopped for lunch at a tiny cafe while taking shelter from a sudden downpour. We had goulash soup, and decided to hunt down a recipe. I'm happy to say it worked out well, something to do again.

In a large saucepan fry a few rashers of finely-chopped bacon until crispy. We usually get lean bacon, but for purposes like this Canadian (or "streaky" as we knew it in Britain) is perfect.

Set aside the bacon and fry some finely-cubed steak until browned. Scoop that out and set it aside with the bacon. I find this also produces a fair amount of liquid, which I drained off for later use too.

Now fry a couple of finely-chopped onions and cloves of garlic until golden. Stir in a generous spoonful of paprika, and a couple of heaped tablespoons of flour. Stir for a couple of minutes, then stir in a generous spoonful of tomato paste and a good slosh of red wine vinegar. The result should be a sticky paste.

After a minute or so, stir in a good jug of beef stock (including the liquid set aside from cooking the steak), salt, a chopped red pepper, and the bacon and steak. There should be enough liquid to cover everything. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 45 minutes.

Add a few finely-cubed potatoes - there should be at least as much by volume as meat - and continue to simmer until the potatoes are tender.

If necessary, add a bit of liquid to cover the ingredients, but the result should be a rich and thick soup. Stir occasionally to stop it catching on the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Jambalaya

A spicy and hearty dish.

Fry a sliced spicy sausage in a generous knob of butter.

When it's browned a bit, add spices: large spoonful of paprika and cumin, dash of cayenne, black pepper, and salt. Stir and cook for a minute.

Add a chopped tomato and cook until the juice starts to come out.

Add the veggies: a chopped pepper, a few sticks of celery, and spring onions. Stir and cook for a few minutes.

Stir in rice, then stock. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook gently for about 1/2 hour.

Near the end, stir in shrimp.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Cheesecake

This is a simple and creamy-delicious no-cooking cheesecake recipe. I've seen variations on this posted all over the place, but was clued into it by a blogger friend a few years ago.

For the base:

Crush about a dozen digestive biscuits (plain or chocolate) until they reduce to fine crumbs. Mix with a generous spoonful of ground almonds and about 3 or 4 oz melted butter. Press the mixture into a greased baking tin. Use a tin with a separate bottom so you can remove later. Pop the base in the fridge while you make the filling.

Filling:

Beat together 1 lb/500g cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and a dash of cream, together with 1/2 lb/200g melted chocolate. Spread over the base and refrigerate.

Flavors:

The original recipe used melted Toblerone, but you can use pretty much any chocolate - milk, dark, white. This is also good to make plain cheesecake with just vanilla essence as flavoring, or add fruit essence such as lemon.

You can also finish off with toppings such as grated chocolate, or fruit and a fruit gel.

Tips:

To crush digestives, place them in a ziplok bag and press with a rolling pin.

The amount of cream will depend on the cheese you use. The original recipe called for blocks of Philly, which is quite solid so I add a lot of cream - about 1 cup. If  using a softer cheese, say spreading cheese from a tub, use less cream or it will end up too runny and might not set. You should end up with a thick mixture that will barely pour.

The consistency will also depend on the flavoring you use. Adding chocolate will help it set, but you could opt for other kinds that don't thicken as much.

If you are using chocolate, break it into a metal mixing bowl and set over a pan of simmering water. Get this going early on because it will take a while to melt over a gentle heat. In fact, this step largely dictates the overall preparation time.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Liver pate

Something I used to make often, but haven't in a long while now. A more detailed post over on my other blog here, but the basics are as follows:

Fry a finely-chopped onion in about 4oz butter. When it's soft, add a few chopped cloves of garlic and 1lb liver. We usually use lamb's liver, but chick or beef will also do.

Once the liver changes color, add 1/2 pint of stock and seasoning (salt, black pepper, and a generous dash of Italian seasoning). Bring to the boil, cover, and then simmer gently for a couple of hours. You need the liver soft, and the stock reduced to a thick sludge.

Blend, add a dash of cream - just enough to make a thick paste - and blend again. Pour into a bowl, leave to cool, then refrigerate until set.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Gache Melee

I don't often do sweet stuff, but this is a traditional Guernsey recipe, an apple dessert.

Peel and core cooking apples and cut into rough chunks in a large mixing bowl - about 1 1/2 lbs in total. Sprinkle over 3 oz granulated sugar (I actually used demerara sugar). With a sharp knife chop the apple into smaller pieces until the sugar has dissolved into the released juice.

Thoroughly mix in 2 oz suet, 4 oz self-raising flour, and a pinch of cinnamon, and then 1 beaten egg.

Pour the batter into a greased baking dish, sprinkle with a bit more sugar, and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. The top should be nicely browned. Ideally, the top should end up slightly crisp and chewy while the middle is soft and juicy.

Eat hot or cold, with cream or ice cream.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Clam chowder

I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet. Maybe we went a little while without making it, but it's a tasty warming bowl for a chilly evening.

Start by making up a roux sauce, adding some chicken stock along the way - either paste, or in liquid form instead of some of the milk. You can also add a splash of white wine for extra flavor. Either way, you want to end up with a sauce that is thin enough to pour but not too thin.

Add a tin of drained clams, some finely-diced and pre-cooked potatoes and carrots, and optionally a handful of peeled shrimp. You can also throw in other veggies such as sweetcorn if you wish. Season with salt and pepper, serve with toast (or garlic toast).

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Spinach and ricotta lasagna

A delicious variant on lasagna, using a white sauce rather than tomato sauce. Follows the basic procedure for lasagna, with a few differences:

For the meat sauce, use a white meat like ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Instead of the tomato pasta sauce add a jar of Alfredo sauce.

Make up the cheese sauce as normal, but use equal parts mozzarella and ricotta cheese instead of regular cheddar.

When layering the lasagna, put a layer of the meat sauce, then pasta, then a thin layer of chopped spinach before adding the cheese sauce.